Inkster Falls Short of Catching Leaders

By Martha BrendleMay 31, 2001, 4:00 pm
Early in the day A.J. Eathorne and Cindy Figg-Currier set the benchmark by posting scores of 3-under-par 67. Juli Inkster took notice and did her best to match, if not surpass, that mark.
 
Inkster was the afternoon story at the U.S. Womens Open, but unfortunately for her, she finished at 2-under-par 68.
 
The 40-year-old, who holds one Open title to her name (1999), recorded an inspirational birdie on the 481-yard par-5 1st. Birdies on the 451-yard par-4 10th and the 200-yard par-3 13th left the Los Altos, Ca. resident tied for the lead with five holes to play.
 
Inkster held her place until the par-4 17th where she made bogey to fall one off the lead.
 
'Well, I played ' I thought I played very conservative today,' Inkster said. 'I didnt really feel that overly confident with my swing. Ive had my teacher with me the last few days and weve been working on some things.
 
The winner of 26 LPGA Tour titles has earned $477,692 in the 21 Womens Opens she has participated in and has missed only six cuts since 1978. She finished in the Top-3 two times, once after losing a playoff to Patty Sheehan in 1992; as well as recording two Top-5 finishes and three Top-10 finishes.
 
Inkster, decked out in RITZ Cracker logos, isnt sure why she plays so well in majors. I dont know, I just ' I like how tough the golf courses play. I think youve really got to use all the clubs in your bag with majors. So I dont know why, I think maybe I focus better or something.
 
It was a successful day for 13-year-old Morgan Pressel, anyway you look at it. The child prodigy did not finish dead last, as she had expected. Instead, after birdieing the last hole, Pressel finished with a 7-over-par 77 and ahead of nine other amateurs.
 
The day started on the right foot with a par on the first two holes. For Pressel, the beginning of the end came on the 134-yard par-3 3rd after an errant shot into the pine needles left her carding her first, and unfortunately not her last, bogey of the day. Pressel didnt have a spectacular day of golf from a statistical point of view but she did have fun.
 
I was nervous starting offyou would be surprised how far a 3-foot putt looks in the Open.
 
The Florida native showcased her spectacular short game and well-beyond-her-years demeanor in front of a healthy and supportive gallery.
 
I had a good time, Pressel said visibly fighting back tears after her round. I still have another day. If I play better Id be very, very happy.'
 
I thought 18 would never come, Pressel said holding a Ben & Jerrys Cookie Dough ice cream bar. The last shot was the best part. It felt good finishing with a birdie.
 
Karrie Webb finished at even-par 70. She made 14 pars, two birdies and two bogeys during the first round to finish in exactly the same position as her rival Annika Sorenstam.
 
Twenty-two-year-old Stephanie Keever was the only amateur to break 70 in the first round. Keever, one of the 20 amateurs in the field, recorded a first-round score of 1-under-par 69. The Stanford sociology major will start the second day one stroke ahead of both Sorenstam and Webb.
 
Amateur Brenda Corrie Kuehn, 8-months pregnant with her doctor/husband on the bag, completed the first round at 9-over-par.
 
Kuehn suffered a cramp in her right foot on the 14th as well as a bout with Braxton-Hicks contractions.
 
I could feel it coming, but I was kind of too embarrassed to back out and start again. They come all the time. Its no big deal to me.
 
On the first tee Kuehn learned that her playing partner, Jennifer Greggain, was also pregnant. It was so nice to see somebody else pregnant.
 
Full-field scores from the U.S. Women's Open
Getty Images

Fleetwood flawless en route to Abu Dhabi lead

By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 2:06 pm

New year, same results for Tommy Fleetwood.

The reigning Race to Dubai champ picked up where he left off in the opening round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, carding a bogey-free 66 during which the Englishman found all 18 greens in regulation. At 6 under, he shares the lead with Japan's Hideto Tanihara and sits one shot clear of five other players.

"Very stress-free. Played really well from start to finish," Fleetwood said. "Felt like I did what you need to do around this golf course, which is drive it well, hit your irons solid. You can't really be too greedy a lot of the time, and then sort of my pace putting was really good. So basically just did what you need to do to get a good score around this golf course, and I got one."


Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


Fleetwood shined in a marquee grouping that included world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy, as he birdied three holes on each nine. This is his first worldwide start since a T-3 finish at the Hero World Challenge.

It was at this event a year ago that Fleetwood sparked a career campaign, edging Johnson and Pablo Larrazabal for the win. He added another win at the French Open in the summer to go along with a pair of runner-up results and a T-4 finish at the U.S. Open, all of which helped him capture the European Tour's season-long title.

Fleetwood's sudden success in Abu Dhabi serves as a microcosm for his career resurgence. Prior to last year's victory, he had missed the cut in four of his five other trips to this event.

Getty Images

Sergio starts season with 66 in Singapore

By Associated PressJanuary 18, 2018, 12:56 pm

SINGAPORE – Sergio Garcia opened his season with a 5-under 66 and a share of the clubhouse lead on Thursday in the first round of the weather-interrupted Singapore Open.

Playing his first tournament of the year, the Masters champion rebounded after making an early bogey to collect four birdies and an eagle at the Sentosa Golf Club.

He was later joined by American qualifier Kurt Kitayama in the clubhouse lead. Still on the course, Tirawat Kaewsiribandit was at 6 under through 16 holes when play was suspended for the day because of the threat of lightning.

Louis Oosthuizen, the 2010 Open champion, was at 5 under through 16 holes when he also had to stop his round because of the weather.

Of the players who did finish their opening rounds, only three were within two strokes of Garcia and Kitayama. One of them was Casey O'Toole, who aced the par-3 second with a 7-iron.



The 38-year-old Garcia dropped his only shot of the day on the par-4 15th, his sixth hole after teeing off on the back nine, when he missed the fairway and was unable to make par. But he made amends when he birdied the par-3 17th and then eagled the par-5 18th to go out in 33.

''I was 1 over after (the) seventh but it didn't feel like I was playing badly,'' said Garcia, who made birdies on each of the two par 5s and one of the par 3s on the second nine. ''But then I hit two greats in a row for holes 17 and 18. I got a birdie-eagle there, so that settled me a little bit and I could play solid in the back nine and it was a great round.''

Garcia made the shortlist for the Laureus Sports Awards in the Breakthrough of the Year category after claiming his first major at Augusta National last year and is hoping for more success this season.

He credits the Singapore Open as having played a part in toughening him up for his Masters win because he opted to start his 2017 campaign in the stifling humidity of Southeast Asia to prepare himself for the bigger tournaments ahead.

Although he finished tied for 11th in Singapore, Garcia won the Dubai Desert Classic the next week and was in peak form when he won the Masters two months later.

Kitayama only secured his place in the $1 million event on Monday by finishing at the top of the qualifying competition, but he made a strong start with birdies on three of his first five holes. The 25-year-old Thai was 6 under through 13 holes but spoiled his otherwise flawless round with a bogey on his last.

''I started with a birdie and I just let it roll from there. I had some good tee shots, which I think, is the biggest thing for this course,'' Kitayama said. ''I'm a little tired, but I'm hanging in there. Whenever I have time off, I'll try not to think too much about golf.''

Getty Images

13-year-old beats DJ in closest-to-the-pin contest

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 18, 2018, 12:26 pm

Dustin Johnson didn’t just get beat by Tommy Fleetwood and Rory McIlroy on Day 1 of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

Even a 13-year-old got the best of the world No. 1.

Oscar Murphy teed off on the 177-yard 15th hole as part of the tournament’s Beat the Pro challenge during the opening round. The Northern Irishman, one of the HSBC’s Future Falcons, carved a 3-wood toward a back-right pin, about 25 feet away, closer than both Johnson and Fleetwood.

“An unbelievable shot,” Fleetwood said afterward, “and me and Rory both said, ‘We don’t have that in our locker.’”



Johnson still made par on the hole, but he mixed four birdies with four bogeys Thursday for an even-par 72 that left him six shots back of Fleetwood and Hideto Tanihara after the opening round.

Johnson, who tied for second here a year ago, is coming off a dominant performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions, where he won by eight shots to strengthen his lead atop the world rankings. 

Getty Images

McIlroy 'really pleased' with opening 69 in Abu Dhabi

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 18, 2018, 12:10 pm

It was an auspicious 2018 debut for Rory McIlroy.

Playing alongside world No. 1 Dustin Johnson for his first round since October, McIlroy missed only one green and shot a bogey-free 69 at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. McIlroy is three shots back of reigning Race to Dubai champion Tommy Fleetwood, who played in the same group as McIlroy and Johnson, and Hideto Tanihara.

Starting on the back nine at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, McIlroy began with 11 consecutive pars before birdies on Nos. 3, 7 and 8.


Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


“I was excited to get going,” he told reporters afterward. “The last couple of months have been really nice in terms of being able to concentrate on things I needed to work on in my game and health-wise. I feel like I’m the most prepared for a season that I’ve ever been, but it was nice to get back out there.”

Fleetwood, the defending champion, raced out to another lead while McIlroy and Johnson, who shot 72, just tried to keep pace.

“Tommy played very well and I was just trying to hang onto his coattails for most of the round, so really pleased – bogey-free 69, I can’t really complain,” McIlroy said.

This was his first competitive round in more than three months, since a tie for 63rd at the Dunhill Links. He is outside the top 10 in the world ranking for the first time since 2014.